As summer winds to a close and parents are faced with a lot of decisions to make about school for their children in the fall… a lot of us are facing “COVID-Fatigue.”
I don’t know if COVID-Fatigue is a formal term yet, but it is similar to decision-fatigue. It is real and it can be overbearing.
During pre-Covid times, people often struggled with making decisions at the end of the day because their brains were tired. We make thousands of decisions every day. Sometimes we aren’t even aware of many of the decisions w are making because we make them so often. “What to wear, what to eat for breakfast, how to make what you’re going to eat for breakfast, what to drink, which cup to pour that drink into, where to sit, and what silverware to use” are all examples of decisions we make before we really start our day.
Now we are making all of those decisions with an added twist. Sometimes in the forefront, sometimes in the background, as a parent, thoughts about Covid seem to always be there. The fact that we can’t make some of the decisions we want to and cross them off our “to-do” list makes that harder.
We are tired. We are tired of being stuck at home. Tired of being extra cautious for ourselves and our families. We are tired of being scared.
Facing our fears and this fatigue is important to our health and well-being.
It’s time to develop and build our coping skills.
There are things we can do. We can actually help ourselves.
- Mindfulness – Try being in the moment. Stop your brain for just a moment. Stop it from running through every possible scenario that could happen or from ruminating about the past. Take 30-60 seconds to focus on where you are. Be aware of what is happening around you in that moment.
- Gratitude – Focus on what you can be grateful for instead of everything that you might be missing out on. Shift your stinkin’ thinkin’ to focus on being appreciative of the things that are going well for you right now.
- Exercise – I am not a medical doctor, but I do know that exercise can be a great stress reliever. Even a short walk can help get the adrenaline pumping and release endorphins (pain-reducing and pleasure boosting hormones). Dr. Wendy Suzuki teaches that exercise is like a “bubble bath for the brain.” It helps clear the mental as well as the physical ‘junk’ that builds up. So, take a little time (even 10 minutes!) to get up and move.
- Talk – Talking really helps. I recently heard someone say that ignoring your feelings is like trying to hold a beachball underwater. I loved that image because you know that eventually that beachball is going to break free and pop up. You can’t control where it goes or what it does. Find someone you can confide in and allow your feelings out in a controlled way.
- Think Constructively – Often times we are taught that the situation we are in causes our feelings. However, our feelings come from the thoughts we have about a situation. While we certainly can’t change the fact that COVID is here (the situation), we can adjust our thoughts. Be kind to yourself and others. Be compassionate and allow some grace.
- Focus on What you CAN Do – We are being inundated with news and studies and social media. Be protective of your time when it comes to the media. Limit news exposure and social media use.
Avoid getting caught up in arguing with people online whom you disagree with.
We know we can protect our family and ourselves by practicing good hygiene (washing hands for 20 seconds), wearing masks, and by social distancing.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with COVID-Fatigue…
We tend to hold ourselves to extremely high standards and beat ourselves up when we don’t reach them. COVID-Fatigue is like a sneaky gremlin challenging our ability to think and do things how we used to be able to do them. But we can and will get through this.
If you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed, getting angry at the smallest things, yelling at your kids more often, bursting into tears unexpectedly, it would be a good idea to talk with someone. I am available to help you deal with COVID-Fatigue and can also help you put plans in place to keep your stress levels down. Respond to this blog post or send me a message at DrRenee@HelpingParentsParent.com.